SES Faculty Lightning Talks

Climate & Water Sustainability

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

3:30-5:30 p.m.

Life Science Labs S330/340

Open to all


On Wednesday afternoon, we invite you to join the SES community for the first in a series of Lightning Talks.  Learn about eight faculty members’ research interests, exciting discoveries, inspiring projects, and new studies underway related to climate or water sustainability. 


David Boutt, Department of Geosciences

The Growing Groundwater Crisis

Dr. David Boutt is the director of the Hydrogeology Laboratory in the Department of Geosciences.  He and his students are focused on field and modeling based studies examining the role of groundwater contributions to catchment scale hydrological processes. 


Michelle DaCosta, Stockbridge School of Agriculture

Understanding mechanisms of stress tolerance of perennial grasses exposed to drought and temperature extremes

Michelle DaCosta is an Associate Professor in Stockbridge School of Agriculture.  As a plant physiologist, her research program is centered on gaining greater insight into physiological mechanisms of plant adaptation to environmental stresses, primarily focusing on perennial grasses. She also conducts applied research to help guide turfgrass industry professionals on development of best management practices aimed at reduced water, fertilizer, and pesticide use in managed landscapes.


Elisabeth Hamin: Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning

The ladder of adaptation:  Are communities stepping up?

Dr. Elisabeth M. Hamin holds a Master of Management from the JL Kellogg Graduate School of Business at Northwestern University and a PhD in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.  She’s been at UMass since 2001, and currently serves as Department Chair for Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning.  She is working on a new book for Routledge entitled,

 A Reader in Planning for Urban and Regional Climate Resilience – By Elisabeth M. Hamin, Robert L. Ryan and Yaser Abunnasr.   Due to the publisher this summer.

 In the spring semester she teaches a course called “Planning for Climate Change” RP 585 which welcomes students from all majors, and starting next fall she will offer a 100 level course on Climate Change and Cities.


Marco Keiluweit: Stockbridge School of Agriculture

Mapping Carbon Flow through Soils:  from Molecular to Ecosystem Scales

Marco Keiluweit is an Assistant Professor of Soil and Microbial Biogeochemistry in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. He received his BS in Environmental Geosciences fom the University of Tübingen (Germany) as well as both MS and PhD in Soil Science from Oregon State University.  Before joining UMASS Amherst, Marco was a Lawrence Scholar in the Chemical Sciences Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford University.  Marco’s research investigates microbially influenced geochemical reactions, enzymatically catalyzed or not, that regulate greenhouse gas emissions from and carbon storage in soils.    


Anita Milman: Department of Environmental Conservation

Governing Adaptation: Bridging Scales for Water Security

Dr. Anita Milman is assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Conservation. Milman’s research is on the multi-level governance of water resources, with a focus on human responses to hydro-climatic and other sources of environmental change. She is particularly interested in how adaptation in the water sector is influenced by institutional structures; the socio-political-cultural lenses used in interpreting information; and the need to make decisions and act under uncertainty. Milman teaches courses on environmental policy, adaptation to climate change, environmental conflict, and social-science research methods. She is co-director for the Human Dimension and Environmental Policy in ECo and co-coordinator of the ISSR’s Sustainability Working Group.


Robert Ryan: Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning

Green Infrastructure: Challenges and Opportunities

Robert L. Ryan, FASLA is a professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he teaches courses on landscape planning and assessment, environment and behavior, and green infrastructure planning. His research explores the role of place attachment as a motivation for stewardship of urban green spaces and the factors that influence public acceptance for sustainable landscapes, including green infrastructure.


Kristina Stinson: Department of Environmental Conservation

Hold the mustard – plant populations and the changing planet

Dr. Kristina Stinson is broadly trained as a population and community level ecologist with a PhD in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from Princeton.  After a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard, She joined the Senior Research Staff at Harvard Forest in conjunction with their Long Term Ecological Research Program for a decade.  In 2012, she joined the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts.  She is interested in the role of landscape-level genetic variation in plant traits and how this affects species’ responses to global change.  She combines field observations, experiments, and genetics approaches to quantify the expression of key traits under a range of environmental conditions.  She also links population-level data to theoretical forecasting models, in order to better understand how environmental stressors affect a species’ distribution across the landscape.  The unifying goals of this work are:

1   to advance fundamental research in plant population and theoretical ecology, especially regarding the unique responses of distinct populations to rapid environmental change; and

2   to provide practical guidelines for ecological restoration,  invasive plant management, and conservation.


Eve Vogel, Department of Geosciences

Dr. Eve Vogel investigates the human-environmental dynamics and histories of rivers. She focuses in particular on river governance institutions and policy and their interaction with wide ecological and social processes and needs.  She is particularly interested in efforts to protect or restore the natural dynamics of large rivers while also meeting diverse human needs through multi-jurisdictional river basin management.  She has focused for ten years on the Columbia River system and is working on a book on a seventy-year history of regional Columbia River basin management. She is working toward a project on the Connecticut River, and also a broad comparative river governance project.